The first woman to carry the mantle of Captain Marvel. The first African American woman to join the Avengers and eventually lead them. A handful of code names. Some of the strangest team adventures. Possibly no longer human but something more. Who is Monica Rambeau? Let’s find out!
Monica Rambeau is the daughter of Frank and Maria Rambeau, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana she would grow up to become a lieutenant in the harbor patrol. It would be on the job that Monica would gain strange powers. In her attempt to stop a new and dangerous weapon from being completed she would find herself turned into energy and able to transform into all manner of energy.
Now gifted with powers, Monica would go to the Avengers seeking training. She’d quickly befriend her mentors, Captain America and the Wasp, and remain good friends to this day. Becoming a full-time member, Monica would gain her own small rogues gallery, Moonstone and Blackout, she’d even fight Dracula!
Eventually Monica would become the leader of the Avengers. Under her command, the team would have to face off against the X-Men, the gods of Olympus, and many other threats. When one of her teammates transformed into a sea monster, Monica would lead the charge to stop them. Unfortunately, she’d get knocked into the ocean while in her electric form and this would prove to be nearly fatal and highly traumatic with lasting damage.
Recovering from her near-death experience, Monica didn’t have access to her powers and was physically weaker as well. As she eventually regained her health, powers, and control she would become a reserve member of the Avengers. She’d eventually take on leadership roles again but in non-combat situations such as delegation. Monica had been called Captain Marvel due to the media naming her such but when she meets the son of the original Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell, she allows him to take on the name in honor of his dad and she becomes Photon.
Still wanting to work more with the Avengers, Monica would ask them to call her in when needed. When she started getting suspicious of the lack of calls from even her good friends on the team, she learned her mother had been taking the calls before Monica could answer, trying to keep her daughter safe. Enraged, Monica would go back to the Avengers and lead for a brief adventure. When it turns out Genis-Vell doesn’t have an original bone in his body, he starts calling himself Photon, annoyed but finding a better name, Monica goes by Pulsar for a brief period.
Monica would become the leader of Nextwave, working for H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort) to stop the evil Beyond Corporation. Or maybe not? It’s possible the Beyond Corporation either implanted false memories or rewrote reality so that Monica and her teams adventures were in another dimension. Either way it was a weird time and Monica wondered what the heck that was for a long time.
When Luke Cage created the Mighty Avengers, a team meant to be for the people to call on for a variety of help, Monica would become the team’s field leader and go by the name Spectrum. The team would fight dimensional threats and when an alternate universe was about to merge with her own universe, she was ready to destroy it until she saw children on the other Earth and hesitated, in that time a new reality was made. Monica is now a team member of The Ultimates, a team meant to deal with cosmic level threats and concerns. Recently, they remade Galactus from devourer of worlds into creator of worlds.
There you have it folks! Monica is one of my favorite Marvel characters and will always be my Captain Marvel, there have been several but she was the best to me. Her powers are really cool and I hope we get to see her make a silver screen or small screen appearance in the MCU. See you next time!
The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16
Avengers: Unplugged #5
New Thunderbolts #9
Mighty Avengers Vol. 2
The Ultimates Vol. 4